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price: 18 euro
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year: 2020
isbn: 9789042941137
e-isbn: 9789042941229
pages: XIV-82 p.
'The Wings of the Spirit': Exploring Feminine Symbolism in Early Pneumatology
A Reassessment of a Key Metaphor in the Spiritual Teachings of the 'Macarian Homilies' in the Light of Early Syriac Christian Tradition

The book explores the rich symbolism of the Holy Spirit as a mother bird with hovering wings within early Syriac sacramental liturgies, proto-monastic rites of initiation, hymnody and teaching on prayer and spiritual states of inspiration and contemplation. The author traces these influences into the Greek writings of the Fourth Century Mesopotamian ascetic teacher and writer of the 'Macarian Homilies’. Macarian pneumatology was known to have influenced the Cappadocian brothers, Basil and Gregory, in the period leading up to the addition of the clause on the Holy Spirit to the Nicene Creed. By demonstrating a cultural and religious dialogue between the Cappadocians and Macarian and Syriac teaching on the Holy Spirit, Julie Hopkins challenges the current scholarship which claims that the Cappadocian appropriation of the “wings of the Spirit” metaphor derived from the Platonic “wings of the soul”. In her study, the agency and functions of the Syriac feminine Holy Spirit were appropriated by Gregory of Nyssa in his mystical writings as a powerful verbal ikon, even though the gender was lost in translation.